Why was the action brought in Northern Ireland? That province was the only part of the United Kingdom with which the alleged infringement had any connection since the defendant, Seagate, had a factory in Springtown, County Derry, which made semiconductor wafers for hard drives that were exported to the Far East for assembly. Northern Ireland does not have a specialist intellectual property court and, while, some local legal practitioners have acquired some experience of intellectual property dispute resolution, both parties were represented by barristers from England and Wales (the defendant's leading counsel was Colin Birss QC, now Judge Birss in the Patents County Court).
The judge acknowledged that he was new to the field. He also said, giving judgment about a year after the hearing ended:
"I regret that shortage of judicial manpower and the greatly increased workload in the Chancery Division have prevented a judgment until now".For the record, the judge was of the opinion that the patent was obvious and that, in any event, it did not cover Seagate's product.